The new watch model by Christophe Claret is a limited musical tourbillon


Christophe Claret continues to strike a chord among devotees of horological excellence. Four years after unveiling the Soprano model, the watchmaker from Le Locle reveals a new aesthetic score performed by three original variations on this theme, issued in eight-piece limited editions. These sophisticated and highly technical timepieces combine two of the most beautiful horological complications: a 60-second tourbillon and a minute repeater with a Westminster chime, four patented gongs and four hammers, highlighted by stepped bridges inspired by the Charles X style. Harmoniously blending tradition and modernity, Soprano epitomizes the high standards of haute horlogerie developed by the Manufacture.

The story began with the passion nurtured by Christophe Claret for the pocket watches he was involved in repairing and restoring, even before beginning his studies at the Geneva Watchmaking School. He has been collecting these wonderful historical movements ever since, focusing his attention on minute repeaters and their distinctive architecture. And while he is keenly fascinated by mechanics, Christophe Claret is equally intrigued by aesthetics – and notably by the style of the Charles X period. Although the latter reigned over France for only six years, from 1824 to 1830, the monarch exercised a definite influence on the decorative arts of his age and watchmaking was also impacted by this aesthetic tendency.

The new Soprano watch made by swiss watch manufacturer Christophe Claret is a classic tourbillon

Technical perfection and architectural equilibrium inspired by the Charles X style are also manifested in the three new versions of the Soprano watch. The mechanical hand-wound movement draws its energy from a single barrel ensuring an approximately 72-hour power reserve, and sets a magnificent stage for two of the finest horological complications: the tourbillon and the minute repeater. The 60-second tourbillon performs one full rotation per minute and sits majestically enthroned at 6 o’clock, supported by a stepped and skeletonized Charles X style bridge. This is a classic from the Manufacture Claret, tried and tested in laboratories for many years and equipped with a heart beating at the frequency of 3 Hz.

Christophe Claret also provides a remarkable interpretation of the minute repeater, considered to be one of the most demanding complications involving both technical complexity and musical quality. Developed within the Manufacture more than ten years ago, the Soprano movement has been given an entirely new twist to equip this model. It now appears in an even more complex guise, fitted with four cathedral gongs and four hammers that are all visible through the front of the watch. This original construction avoids any obstacle to effective sound diffusion.

Particular care has also been devoted to the sound quality of this model, drawing upon the longstanding experience acquired by the Manufacture in this field. For this creation, just as for previous minute repeaters, Christophe Claret has focused on the production of the drawn steel gongs, on the quality of their assembly and tuning, on the design of the case, as well as on the interconnection between the movement and the case.

The gongs of the Soprano are of the cathedral type. These circular rings are wrapped twice around the movement and also feature an invention already patented by the Manufacture, which serves to avoid excessive vibrations and thus any disconcerting buzz when the gongs touch.

The new Christophe Claret tourbillon is available in white gold and in red gold

The desire to endow the Soprano with a low-pitched, powerful sound also dictated the choice of titanium and gold as case materials. The combined use of these two metals for the case middle as well as the case-back and the bezel ensures optimal resonance. A first version features a pleasing contrast between the shimmering sophistication of 5N red gold and the matt depths of chocolate brown PVD-treated titanium. A second interpretation in white gold combines a titanium case middle with an elegant black PVD treatment. Finally, the Soprano appears clothed in white gold and slate blue PVD-treated titanium. The many details that play a role in shaping the visual strength of this creation include the color match between the orange, black or blue lacquered hands, the screws and jewels in identical shades, as well as the cabochon set on the crown and the topstitching on the alligator leather strap.

Although extremely complicated to produce, the round case of the Soprano – measuring 45 millimeters in diameter and 15.32 millimeters thick – exudes a traditional aura. Its broad opening highlights the movement, itself surrounded by a ring printed with the Christophe Claret name at 12 o’clock and the inscription Swiss Made at 6 o’clock. The brown, black or slate blue PVD-treated inner bezel ring, depending on the version, bears the hour-markers as well as the brand insignia at 12 o’clock.

The entirely transparent back of the watch leaves ample room to admire the graceful dance of the springs and gears, accentuated by a ring engraved like a musical stave with a flurry of notes. This wealth of details transforms the most complex horological mechanism into a constantly renewed and melodious symphony.

Reference: MTR.TRD98.030-038

Case: 5N red gold and chocolate brown PVD-treated
grade 5 titanium
Hands: orange lacquered sapphire and anthracite gray
PVD-treated grade 5 titanium with Super-LumiNova
Crown: 5N red gold and chocolate brown PVD-treated
grade 5 titanium
Strap: chocolate brown alligator leather
8-piece limited edition
Price in Swiss francs (ex VAT): 476,000

Reference: MTR.TRD98.050-058

Case: white gold and slate blue PVD-treated grade 5 titanium
Hands: blue lacquered sapphire and black PVD-treated
grade 5 titanium with Super-LumiNova
Crown: white gold and slate blue PVD-treated grade 5 titanium
Strap: black alligator leather
8-piece limited edition
Price in Swiss francs (ex VAT): 476,000

Reference: MTR.TRD98.040-048

Case: white gold and black PVD-treated grade 5 titanium
Hands: black lacquered sapphire and anthracite gray
PVD-treated grade 5 titanium with Super-LumiNova
Crown: white gold and black PVD-treated grade 5 titanium
Strap: black alligator leather
8-piece limited edition
Price in Swiss francs (ex VAT): 476,000

http://www.christopheclaret.com